Streets seem safer, residents tell police

From Staff ReportsJanuary 14, 2009 

— Initial efforts to clean up a crime-riddled block in Southeast Raleigh got largely positive reviews from residents during a City Council subcommittee meeting tonight.

The 300 block of Tarboro Street became a focus of Raleigh police and other city departments after a teen was gunned down on Nov. 21. The boy was the third homicide on the block since 2005.

Raleigh Police said they have increased foot and bicycle patrols in the area and plan to open an office at the Tarboro Road Community Center. The city also plans to expand the community programs it offers at the center, adding more programs for teens.

“To the credit of the police department, we have seen some considerable improvement,” said Dianne Suber, president of Saint Augustine’s College, which is located across the street from where the homicides took place.

Efforts to do something about the 300 block date back more than a decade, and several speakers today noted that any improvements could be short-lived.

Octavia Rainey, chairwoman of the Citizens Advisory Council that includes North Tarboro Street, said it would take a sustained effort from the city and the neighborhood to ensure that the area improves.

Many of the planned improvements for the area came out of a meeting last month attended by more than 70 residents and Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan. That meeting was spawned by the death of 16-year-old Adarius Monquell Fowler.

Raleigh Police are still investigating Fowler’s death and have not made any arrests in the case. Fowler’s aunt, Evon Fowler, attended tonight’s meeting and thanked police for their efforts.

“A lot still needs to be done,” she said. “That area is bad.”

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